Sports have become globalized over the past several decades, a process that reflects the emergence of a world economy, transnational cosmopolitan culture, and various international social movements. With the advancement of technology, people, money, and images can travel across continents more quickly than ever before. These interwoven patterns have greatly influenced the way people participate in sports, especially in the modern era.
A clear definition of what a sport is will enable a greater understanding of the discipline. The definition of sport should be inclusive of a broad spectrum of physical activity that is performed for enjoyment. In this way, sport can improve mental and physical fitness, while creating new social bonds and encouraging competition. In addition, sport can help individuals improve their skills and develop as individuals.
While there are no clear records of when sports were first developed, evidence suggests that children have been involved in games that involve competitive athletic competitions since the dawn of civilization. However, the development of sports as autotelic physical contests for adults did not begin until the Renaissance. Early drawings depict hunters, in particular, pursuing their prey with joyful abandon. This practice eventually became an end in itself for many ancient civilizations.
Sports can help define national identity, which can be crucial for a nation. Fans of a team can feel a deep identification with the team and a strong hatred for the opposing team. Sports can also help define the roles of coaches, players, and fans, and can form a strong connection between sports and national identity.